President opposes Party of Regions referendum on NATO and Russian language

18:49, 06 September 2007
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"These people must have no desire to stabilize Ukraine’s political situation"

President Victor Yushchenko has said plans by the Regions Party to hold a national referendum on Ukraine’s NATO membership and second state language are a “risky political enterprise”, according to the President`s press-office.

      “In my opinion, those political forces which are trying to hold such a referendum now think only about how to destabilize the country,” he told reporters on Thursday and added that Ukraine’s political leaders had agreed not to broach “sensitive” subjects during the campaign. “We agreed… that those subjects which are sensitive for society and create differences must not be used at the elections. One must not demonstrate such disrespect for the country, its citizens, its political stability. I am surprised the Regions Party has such a position. These people must have no desire to stabilize Ukraine’s political situation and take steps that are inconsistent with political peace. I am upset and I am surprised that the prime minister does this.”

      Yushchenko said the second language issue had been used by many political parties during election campaigns since Kuchma’s presidency.

      He said those political forces which “sincerely care for the people and do not want to fool them should choose a legal path when deciding which status the Russian language should be granted.” He said the Regions Party was “publicly and impudently violating the existing procedure of passing amendments to the constitution of Ukraine.”

      Yushchenko said Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s party was in fact not going to change the constitution. “They want the people to think they are a political force that really wants to resolve the issue.”

      He said these issues should be “seriously studied and thoroughly discussed” by the people.

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